Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Road trip to Guanajuato and Jalisco

Well as I am writing this I am on my way back to Merida from Guadalajara. My trip was a very good one indeed; I thoroughly enjoyed just about every aspect of it. It was really nice to catch up with friends, visit a bunch of new places and get to eat all kinds of really good food. Well as I have already made a couple posts regarding Guadalajara, I will try to keep this one to Guanajuato, its towns and a few places in Jalisco. The state of Guanajuato is roughly in the middle of Mexico, I say roughly because if you know anything about Mexican geography (which I do not assume you do) you will know that north/south distinctions are fairly ambiguous and more subject to cultural interpretations rather ran to a real sense of geography (because of the “S” like shape of the country). Due to its impressive amount of industry and Oil refineries, Guanajuato is one of Mexico’s most prosperous states and has a very good transit system, although travelling by car can still be a bit difficult at times due mostly to its mountainous terrain. The capital of the State of Guanajuato is (the ingeniously named) Guanajuato city. The city itself is in my opinion one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. With its grand colonial architecture and multi-coloured homes lining the mountain range it makes for quite a spectacle.

The city is unique in that it poses a network of underground tunnels built in the XIX century which back then were used as access points to mines and sewage. Now instead of mine workers and sewage, the tunnels have been refurbished to accommodate the city transit sytem! I know this sounds bizarre, and it really is… but the tunnels are really beautiful and are incrusted with stones. Ofcourse not all traffic runs under these tunes, but for the most part the downtown city centre (which is a Unesco World Heritege site) does. The city also boasts a beautiful market, tons of plazas with really nice cafes and a gorgeous Neo-classical theatre for the performing arts. I could basically go on for ever about Guanajuato city, but I don’t think my writing skills could really do it justice (lets hope the pictures help).

Other than the Capital, Guanajuato is a mostly industrial and agricultural state that provides Mexico with much of its meat, milk, eggs, leather, corn and oil. Gunajuato is however also home to the Mexican independence movement which began in the city of Dolores Hidalgo, and thus is regarded by Mexicans as the birthplace of modern Mexico.

Guanajuato is also home to San Miguel de Allende, a very popular retirement spot for mainly American and Canadians. Most people seem to feel that due to the influx of so many foreigners San Miguel has lost its charm… which is not entirely true, but still a very debatable point. Architectonically the highlight of San Miguel de Allende is its imposing Cathedral that seen from the right angle may remind you of the Walt Disney Castle at Disney world (in my mind quite a dubious distinction). Due to the foreign influx of cash, San Miguel has become quite expensive, and at least in my opinion the services have become way to Americanized (specially the food).

In Jalisco my friend Roque and I visited a interesting little town called Tepatitlan. What is particularly interesting about the town is that it was settled by the French during the rule of Mexico’s only emperor (Maximilian, in the XIX century).

Tepatitlan itself is quite pleasent, but is famous amongst persons from the rest of the state for its beautiful women (Roque and I being the red blooded males we are whole hardily agree with that opinion). Anway I think I will leave it at that, before this entry gets to long. I hope you enjoy the pictures, and if you want to plan a trip to the area down to the area, don’t forget to check out Guanajuato, Guadaljara… and oh yea, have yourself a good ogle at the local girls at Tepatitlan.

Panoramic view of Guanajuto city (its high rez and makes for a nice desktop image)

Panoramic view of Jalisco /Zacatecas state boarder pt 1 (same pano continues in part 2)

Panoramic view of Jalisco /Zacatecas state boarder pt 2

Cathedral at night during festivities in honor of the virgin

Dancers in Azetec costume at celebration 1

Dancers in Azetec costume at celebration 2

Dancers in Azetec costume at celebration 3

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